How to Counter Lethality in League of Legends?
League of Legends

League of Legends

How to Counter Lethality in League of Legends?

Lethality is a critical mechanic in League of Legends that increases physical damage by effectively reducing an enemy's armor. This makes it especially potent against targets with low armor levels. Understanding and countering lethality can significantly enhance your gameplay, providing a strategic advantage in the game's intense battles on the Rift.

Here's a refined and more polished explanation on how to counter lethality, its workings, and when it's most advantageous to incorporate it into your build strategy:

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What Is Lethality?

In League of Legends, lethality is a crucial stat for players looking to optimize their damage output, particularly against opponents with minimal armor investment. It is a form of armor penetration that specifically targets champions with lower armor levels.

What sets lethality apart from standard armor penetration is its scaling with the opponent's champion level. This means that regardless of level discrepancies, lethality retains its effectiveness throughout the game, ensuring that your attacks remain potent against less armored foes.

Lethality is instrumental in dictating the outcome of confrontations, particularly when you are targeting more vulnerable enemies. Its ability to scale means that as the game progresses, your capacity to dismantle low-armor targets increases, reinforcing its strategic importance in achieving victory.

How to Counter Lethality

To effectively counter lethality in League of Legends, strategic choices in both itemization and gameplay are essential.

Firstly, consider building armor through items such as Thornmail or Randuin's Omen, which can substantially mitigate the impact of attacks from champions relying on lethality. Additionally, investing in items that boost health can be beneficial since lethality does not scale with the target’s health, making high-health targets less susceptible to lethal damage.

In terms of gameplay, positioning is key. Keeping tanks between you and the primary lethality threats, or positioning yourself in hard-to-reach spots during team fights, can drastically reduce the effectiveness of lethality-based opponents. Altering your playstyle to avoid isolated skirmishes against lethal champions is also wise.

Furthermore, early game defense is crucial as lethality scales with levels; playing conservatively early on can reduce the impact of lethality. Maintaining good vision control through warding can prevent unexpected ambushes by high-lethality champions, further safeguarding your team.

By adopting these strategies, you can effectively counter the threat posed by lethality and maintain an advantage over your opponents.

Lethality Vs. Armor Penetration

Lethality and armor penetration are two distinct mechanics in League of Legends that influence how damage is dealt to armored targets.

Lethality operates on a scaling system, diminishing an enemy's armor in proportion to their level. This scaling effect makes lethality more potent as the game progresses, particularly during the early to mid stages of play.

On the other hand, armor penetration reduces a set percentage of the enemy's armor outright, without considering their level. This characteristic makes armor penetration consistently effective throughout the game, particularly against opponents with high armor values.

A clear understanding of these differences is crucial for devising more effective strategies and choosing the right items to counter well-armored foes in League of Legends.

How Is Lethality Calculated

In League of Legends, the effectiveness of lethality is calculated based on a player's level. This is represented by the formula: Flat Armor Penetration = Lethality × (0.6 + 0.4 × level ÷ 18). What this means is that at level 1, lethality grants 60% of its total value as flat armor penetration. This percentage increases linearly until it reaches 100% at level 18.

As a result, the impact of lethality on reducing enemy armor grows as the player advances in level, making it a progressively more potent stat throughout the game. Understanding this formula is crucial for timing your item purchases effectively and maximizing damage output against armored opponents.

List of Lethality Items

In League of Legends, a variety of items provide lethality, each designed to cater to specific in-game strategies:

Duskblade of Draktharr - This item not only grants lethality but also features a passive effect that deals additional damage after the user becomes unseen, perfect for ambush strategies.

Youmuu's Ghostblade - Known for boosting movement speed, this item enhances both lethality and mobility, making it ideal for champions that thrive on fast positioning.

Edge of Night - Offering both lethality and a protective spell shield, this item delivers a strong combination of offense and defense, suitable for engaging in high-risk combat situations.

Serpent's Fang - Particularly effective against teams with multiple shielding abilities, this item reduces the protective benefits of enemy shields while providing lethality.

Umbral Glaive - Excellent for controlling the battlefield’s vision, this item helps detect and eliminate enemy wards, alongside its lethality bonus.

Serylda's Grudge - While it mainly offers armor penetration, it also includes a component of lethality, making it a potent choice against heavily armored foes.

Selecting the right lethality item depends on the player's champion role, the composition of the opposing team, and the current phase of the game. Understanding the unique advantages of each lethality item can significantly enhance a player’s effectiveness and adaptability in various combat scenarios.

When to Build Lethality

Choosing to build lethality items in League of Legends should be based on several strategic considerations:

Early Game Dominance

Lethality is particularly effective for champions that shine in the early to mid-game, amplifying their damage output when it matters most.

Opponent Vulnerability

If facing a team with 'squishy' champions who have low armor, lethality can significantly enhance your ability to deal devastating blows.

Suitability for Your Champion

Assassins and AD carries, whose abilities benefit from physical damage scaling, are prime candidates for lethality builds.

Strategic Objectives

For tactics focused on map control and ambushes, items like Umbral Glaive, which aids in vision denial, become essential.

Expanding Your Lead

When you're already ahead, building lethality can help you maintain and extend your lead by allowing you to secure more kills and exert dominance.

Game Duration Strategy

If you anticipate a shorter game or aim to conclude matches swiftly, investing in lethality can be particularly effective.

Incorporating lethality into your build should align with both your role within the team and the specific dynamics of the match, ensuring that this investment enhances your gameplay effectively.


Effectively countering lethality in League of Legends requires a blend of strategic itemization, careful positioning, and adaptive gameplay. By equipping the right armor and health-focused items such as Thornmail or Randuin's Omen, players can significantly mitigate the impact of lethality. Additionally, adopting strategic positioning during team fights and maintaining vigilant map control through consistent warding can help minimize the threat posed by high-lethality opponents. Understanding these tactics not only enhances your defensive play but also ensures that you maintain a competitive edge, regardless of the opposing team’s strategy. Remember, the key to success in countering lethality lies in anticipating enemy moves and adjusting your strategy accordingly to secure victory.

Posted On: April 26th, 2024 is not endorsed by Riot Games and does not reflect the views or opinions of Riot Games or anyone officially involved in producing or managing League of Legends. League of Legends and Riot Games are trademarks or registered trademarks of Riot Games, Inc. League of Legends © Riot Games, Inc.

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